9/11 First Responders Still Struggling



Denise Najera, Reporter

September 11, 2001. It has been seventeen years since the attack on the Twin Towers and still to this day, first responders are dealing with the effects. For years following 9/11, numerous types of cancers, as well as respiratory illnesses, have been on the rise for people exposed to the air below Canal Street in the months following the tragedy. When people saw their doctors for a persistent cough or trouble breathing, their diagnoses – and the expensive treatments – may have come as a surprise. For many, a connection to the 9/11 attack never even occurred to them. 


People are now seeing that it’s not just the first responders dealing with these struggles, but also the thousands of people who were exposed to that air. The crash of the planes released a fog of burning plastic, asbestos, fiberglass and jet fuel. and was said to burn for 90 days. This toxic mix was harmful to the people who were near it and it is what’s causing them today to have all these cancers and respiratory diseases.

40-year old Ronald R. Spadafora, an assistant chief for the FDNY (New York City Fire Department) was at Ground Zero. He was working rescue and recovery and ended up inhaling a lot of these toxic chemicals. It took it’s toll later in his life as Spadafora passed away at the age of 63.


“Ron Spafadora was a consummate professional fire chief who bravely served our city for 40 years, and toiled for months at the World Trade Center site after September 11, leading the department’s rescue and recovery efforts,” said Daniel Nigro, the writer of the article. A total of 178 people with the FDNY have died because of illness due to the 9/11 attacks. 

9/11. A day to be remembered. Not only for the attack, but to pay respect for those who helped, and to those who are still fighting bravely today.